Even for supporters, the fiercest of the president, not to recognize that he is lying or misrepresents the facts constantly is the intellectual dishonesty.
Already, as a history teacher, before taking a look on the functioning of the american system and the recent changes in the political climate, I must ensure my students are well able to sort the information, recognize reliable sources and to circumvent the traps of disinformation.
Necessarily, identify the number of lies and insist on the facts means giving an impression of bias or partisanship, so that I only clear the ground to go to the essential. In class, I enjoy, however, an advantage not always available to journalists assigned to cover the press conferences of the White House: the time.
Can you imagine the colossal task, which is to report only the facts without straying into propaganda, be it positive or negative? Even a network as partisan as Fox News fails to find grace in the eyes of the president. Donald Trump is taking on the media since 2015 and discredits all those who dare to raise it on its deceitful statements or half-truths. It quickly turns in circles when we can’t even begin to take that first step to ask then on the bottom of a story.
Several observers and some readers of my blog sometimes advance that it would be preferable to avoid focusing on Donald Trump or comment on his statements. If I am well aware of its ubiquity and of its recovery from the media coverage to create diversions, can we really make the economy an analysis of its language and its policies?
After all, we are talking here about the president of the United States, one of the most influential men on the international scene and a pivot essential to the internal management of his country.
Tell me, what coverage would you like? I question myself regularly about my work, both in my classroom and in the media. If teaching history offers the relative comfort of the historical perspective, I have to then also commit myself to see a large number of sources, while respecting the accuracy of the facts.
Well true that there are schools of thought, and that hypotheses are advanced to organize the facts, but we cannot tolerate false information to influence the outcome of our research and the scope of our analyses. What is true of the work of the historian is just as much of the media coverage. Prior to analysis, a sorting of the information is necessary.
We therefore live in a really strange period where journalists and commentators are systematically regarded as supporters of democrats, opponents of the president or of the members of this “grand conspiracy” of the deep State when they are only reporting the words or actions of the president.
Yet, everyone has access to the declarations of Donald Trump, but he charms some of his fellow-citizens, as well as a significant number of Quebecois, to the point where reality becomes optional. Not everything becomes only a matter of perception.
The president, of course, is not the first to use press conferences to promote its objectives and strategy, but the exercise reaches incredible heights of intellectual dishonesty.
Try to imagine for a few moments on the seat of one or of a journalist in the press room of the White House, regardless to which newspaper or which chain. Decorum requires you to respect the president, and to reserve all respects. He’s lying, you know, and it insults you. What would be your attitude? You raise him? You present the evidence that contradict each other? You return then all the deformations in the articles and reports that you produce? You ignore it, simply?
A considerable number of journalists are asking themselves how they should behave in the current context. This morning, Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post, provided his contribution to the debate, and what he writes joined my perception of the phenomenon.
Journalists and commentators should not avoid the press conferences or coverage of the president’s remarks, but they should not be caught in the game of diversion.
Their work in the mine, therefore, becomes a difficult game of balancing that is to report about the president, but also to raise more often the experts who are at his side at conferences. There are, in the words of Dr. Fauci, the more important facts to understand the COVID-19 and its spread in the long tirades spectacular of the president.
Those who frequently read this blog will find that, if I can not pass over in silence some of the controversial decisions of Donald Trump, I try as often as possible to relay what is said by scientists and experts in the relevant areas to support my own thoughts.
These scientists and experts are not democrats or republicans, but many of the thinkers who are accustomed to work with the facts before proceeding with a rigorous analysis.